Elvis Costello @ Royal Concert Hall 26/05/05
Review by Katie Hall
The classic singles steal the show as Elvis Costello plays a 150 minute marathon.
"I didn't always play such salubrious venues…"
Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall, filled with a seated audience of smartly dressed middle-aged couples, is a long way off from Elvis Costello's semi-punk beginnings, three decades ago. But he didn't have so many songs back then.
The two and a half hour performance was non-stop; not even the countless guitar changes could hold up the proceedings.
Elvis and his Imposters (including the captivating Steve Nieve on keyboards) moved from fast-paced pop, to blues, to rock and roll, and to acoustic ballads with seemingly effortless precision.
Slow and bluesy new album, The Delivery Man, provided the bulk of the set, with Nothing Chimes Like Ivy and Monkey To Man being the most memorable.
But the classic singles stole the show, which really got started four songs in with Radio Radio.
(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea couldn't come too soon, actually getting the surprisingly subdued crowd to tap their feet.
The set closed on a high with an unforgettable combo of Shipbuilding, Peace, Love and Understanding and Oliver's Army, which would have been worth the ticket price alone.
And finally, demonstrating that his voice has lost no power over the years, part of new acoustic song The Scarlet Tide was performed beautifully without a microphone; transforming the grand venue into a picture of intimacy and moving the audience to a standing ovation.